Renesas Electronics Corporation has launched a new integrated development environment that enables engineers to rapidly create software for automotive ECUs (electronic control units) containing multiple hardware devices. The fully integrated environment supports co-simulation, debugging and tracing, high-speed simulation and distributed processing software across multiple SoCs (systems on chips) and MCUs (microcontrollers) – all without the need for actual hardware. This software development environment recognizes the automotive industry’s shift to “software-first” product development, where a vehicle’s value is increasingly determined by its software, as well as the “Left Shift” approach to software design that emphasizes verification and validating software earlier in a development cycle before hardware is available. The first development environment tools are now available for the R-Car S4 and RH850/U2A devices.

Renesas integrated development environment with multi-device support enables software development at the ECU level, adding additional value to vehicles and contributing to the Software First approach. By providing a simulation environment from the early stages of product development, the platform enables the verification and development of applications prior to the production of actual devices and ECUs, realizing the Shift Left concept.

By integrating and connecting simulators such as R-Car virtual platform, which was previously provided for single-chip individual devices such as SoCs and microcontrollers, Renesas delivers a new simulation environment for working with multiple devices. Designs can now be optimized by balancing different application functions and incorporating system-level software validation. A development tool that automatically generates device software code and a verification simulation environment from MATLAB /Simulink models will also be available. These tools will allow engineers to evaluate performance and begin application development before hardware and ECUs are in production.

To easily visualize how the software is working internally, Renesas provides a debug and trace tool that allows simultaneous and synchronized execution, execution control via breakpoints, and tracing information for ECUs containing multiple devices. With this tool, users can visualize processing flows, evaluate performance profiles, and anticipate problems that may arise from the operation of multiple devices that are intricately connected within the same ECU. Renesas plans to implement the same functionality mentioned above (1) in the multi-device co-simulation environment so that debugging and tracing can be done on a computer without an ECU.

Usually, in ECU-level simulations, the target software is usually large and the simulation takes a long time to run. This new high-speed simulator is based on QEMU, an open-source virtual environment that models SoCs and microcontrollers at a high level of abstraction, enabling faster ECU-level simulation of complex software.

This software enables optimal distribution of application functions to processors and IP addresses in different SoCs and microcontrollers in ECUs, maximizing hardware performance. With this software, engineers can develop applications quickly without being limited by the hardware configuration of the ECU. For example, developers can add an AI accelerator to an existing ECU to increase system performance without having to redesign the application to adapt to the new device.

The new development platform is designed to reduce environmental impact by providing an off-the-shelf solution that accelerates time to market and saves energy.

The Collaborative Simulation Environment, debug and trace tools for multiple devices are available today. A high-speed software development simulator will be available in December 2022. The distributed processing software for multiple devices will be available in December 2022.

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